Chief Constable Richard Lewis on Ethics and Policing in the UK [Podcast]


Post By: Adam Turteltaub

It’s not everyday that a Chief Constable joins the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics, let alone one who is the United Kingdom’s police national lead for ethics. So when Richard Lewis signed up we invited him to sit down for a podcast, and he graciously said yes.

In this conversation he explains the structure of policing in the UK and its ethics function. Each of the 43 police agencies, he told me, has its own ethics committee. Above them are four regional committees, and above them the National ethics Committee which he chairs and meets quarterly. To make the discussion robust and not an “echo chamber” the National Ethics Committee includes police but also individuals from business and academia.

Their mission is not to enforce ethics but to determine best practices that can be applied. In addition, they explore the ethics issues facing the police including the Black Lives Matter movement, #MeToo, abuse of authority and, as he put it both what they can and can’t do as well as what they should and shouldn’t do.

Another area of discussion is digital ethics. Technology such as facial recognition software and AI are evolving faster than the ethical frameworks.

In this conversation we also explore managing stress in these difficult jobs. One important strategy for maintain mental health: having an adequate work-life balance. It’s a goal that has grown more difficult to achieve in this always-connected world, made worse by the fact that so many people can’t escape an office that is now in a corner of their home.